By Lecina Hicke
When Brittney asked me to write a piece for her blog about my journey in the land of Crossfit, my response was, “You know that you’ve just messaged Lecina Hicke, right?” Simply put, I don’t necessarily view myself as someone you would go to for fitness-related advice. But then I stopped doing that self-deprecating thing that we as females tend to do, and I got a little excited when I started to think about how far I’ve come along on my “Crossfit journey.”
For those of you that don’t know, my sister Libertee and I actually have our own blog titled: “she and her.” (www.sheandher.ca – check it out!). Our goal with this blog is to make fashion and beauty relatable and attainable to women with real bodies, real incomes and circumstances that are more closely associated to the world most of us live in. As I know one of Brittney’s goals is to do the same with fitness, I committed to lending my two cents in hopes of supporting the greater good. Maybe I do have something to say. Here goes.
I’ve been a girl since nine months before May 1, 1984. Shout out to those two X chromosomes that decided to hang!
Nearly 32 years later. . . well, I still have no idea what the eff I’m doing. I do know that I love what is quintessentially referred to as “being a girl.” Getting ready, shopping and lip gloss are all intrinsic parts of me and I love those parts; but, there’s another side of the “being a girl coin,” that I’m not a huge fan of.
By the second, we’re subjected to images, ideas, quick fixes and sure things that will no doubt, prove the key to our “happiness.”
I place happiness in quotation marks on purpose. If I were to do my best to summarize a lesson that has been playing on repeat over these last 32 years, it would be that my happiness as a woman is undoubtedly, unequivocally and exclusively associated to how I look. My body, my temple, my physicality is the measure, the mark and the means to my success.
Here’s the thing with that: it’s not.
Like most women, I’m sure – I lived my life from the ages of 17 through to 26 under the auspice, illusion and guidance of what I saw on the cover of magazines. “Beach body ready in 12 days!” “Abs of steel in seven simple steps!” “Get a butt that will shut him up!” I measured my success on the objectification of my body. What do my abs look like? How can I make my butt tighter? I need firmer arms.
I piecemealed every part of myself on a comparative scale. I trained actual parts of my body: abs, legs, arms, glutes. I searched continuously for another “thing” I could take away to give me what I wanted. Less sugar. Less carbs. No more fat. Salad, no dressing. Chicken breast. Tuna. Splenda not sugar. Diet soda. Crystal Lite.
For almost ten years, I was what was left over.
My search for that side of “happy” was making me and the people around me, miserable. I can specifically remember reading an article in a magazine that prescribed “skipping a meal” as a last-minute solution for a quick five pound loss. If you’ve ever been around me hungry, you know that this didn’t turn out well for anyone involved.
I found myself so exclusively focused on being “bikini body ready” that I had somehow overlooked the fact that I needed my body to be “ready” for the next seventy years. Health and happiness took a back seat to my search for a six pack.
And then I found CrossFit.
I see the memes and the spoofs, I have people in my life that kind heartedly bug me about drinking the Kool-Aid and I embarrassingly acknowledge how I wouldn’t shut up about it for the first year. . . or two, but I will forever be grateful for finding CrossFit and specifically Synergy Strength in Saskatoon.
I remember walking into Synergy for the first time. There were girls doing pull ups, swinging from rings like coordinated monkeys and grunting in a back corner that was laden with weights and what I was fairly confident were referred to as “barbells”. . . ?
I had signed up for a number of OnRamp sessions that were designed primarily to ensure we didn’t die upon official entrance into the CrossFit arena and secondarily to introduce the layperson to the movements and terminology associated to CrossFit. Snatch. Clean. Jerk. Squat. Toes to Bar. Burpee. It was a whole new world.
Something that the coach said to me during one of our first sessions struck a chord and I’ll never forget it: “There’s no such thing as a boy push-up and a girl push-up. There is simply a right and a wrong way to do a push up.”
It might have been one of the most obvious and liberating moments as an adult woman I’ve ever had. It was at that instant I realized that strength was asexual and success related to it had nothing to do with whether or not you were born with a XX or XY chromosome pairing. It’s why I stopped wearing pink to the gym and why my favorite shirt is a black tee shirt that simply reads: “WORK” – thank you, These Fists Fly (also check them out www.thesefistsfly.com ).
The day I decided to be the sum of my parts instead of the object of sustained subtraction was really the day I started to be myself. I started to fall in love with the idea of finding out what my body could do. I suddenly became less interested in my reflection and more interested in reflecting on things like what I could improve, what I learned and how I would tackle that same task next time. I was gauging my success on things I could control – the weight on the barbell, the time on the clock and the number of reps I could muster. I felt powerful and for the first time, directly responsible for the outcomes associated to my goals. The moment I stopped basing my success on what I looked like and started focusing on what I could do, was the moment I became strong.
I can’t honestly say I buy into the idea that “strong is the new skinny”; we’re all built differently and subscribing to an image as the substantiation of success is really the same road I started walking down when I was seventeen and a sure-fire way to mitigate where the success really lies, our capability.
So at the end of the day, I suppose my advice, should I be in a position to bestow, it is two –fold.
Be yourself. Be capable.